Last week two crimes involving young girls were committed less than one mile from one another by suspects wearing black masks, according to Fairfax County Police reports. Detectives are investigating whether the two crimes could have been committed by the same person, but are currently treating them as separate incidents, said police spokesman Tina Prescott.
On Saturday afternoon, a masked man nearly abducted a seven-year old girl from her backyard, according to a police report. At about 2:30 in the afternoon the girl was walking into her backyard on Grey Goose Way in the Hybla Valley area when the man grabbed her from behind and wrapped her in his arms. The girl hit him in the face, pushed his arms off and ran away. The girl was uninjured and the man fled on foot towards Lockheed Boulevard.
The suspect was described by police as a black man about 6 feet 2 inches tall and 200 pounds. He wore a gray and yellow long-sleeved shirt, yellow pants and a black mask.
Earlier in the week, a six-year-old girl reported that she had awoken on the night of Monday, Oct. 16, to find a man in her bedroom. Police were called the next day after the girl told her mother about it.
Prescott said the two cases are proceeding slowly because the age of the victims makes it difficult to get details. “You have to be patient with kids and you don’t want to scare them,” she said.
Lt. Richard Perez, also a police spokesman, strongly urged parents to be aware of what their children are saying and where they are. “We encourage parents to have open dialogue with their children, reinforce what they learn in school, such as “stranger-danger,” and to report such encounters to Mom and Dad,” Perez said. “When out in public, parents to always know where their children are, keep them within reach, or, at a minimum, within eyesight.”
He said that if parents had any questions about the safety of their home, they can request a home survey from a crime prevention officer.
Greg Kotteman, the Mount Vernon Station’s crime prevention officer wrote in an email to the community that residents of the Hybla Valley area, particularly around Fordson Road and Lockheed Boulevard, should be particularly cautious. “Parents, please have a talk with your children about the importance of letting you know, as soon as possible, if something that scared them happens,” Kotteman wrote.
Mount Vernon crime prevention officers can be reached at 703-360-8928.
Purse Snatching Suspect Arrested
On Friday night, detectives from Fairfax County’s Mount Vernon Station and officers from Prince William County Police Department arrested Ronnie Davis, 44, at his house on the 14400 block of Lee Highway in Gainesville, according to a police report. He was charged with robbing an 88-year-old woman in a parking lot and of attempting to rob another woman on the same day. Both robberies occurred in the Mount Vernon area.
Police say that at about 2:15 on the afternoon of Oct. 15, a white man in his 40’s brandished what appeared to be a gun while trying to rob a woman as she sat in her car in the parking lot of Eckerd’s on the 6200 block of North King’s Highway. He fled empty-handed when she started screaming, and she reported he was driving a burgundy van with wood paneling, according to Lt. Mike Proffitt, a spokesman for the Mount Vernon Station.
About two hours later on the same day, an 88 year old woman was leaving Boston Market at Beacon Hill Shopping Center when a man came upon her from behind, knocked her to the ground as she struggled and grabbed her purse. A witness reported a maroon van with wood paneling leaving the scene.
Proffitt said officers quickly spread the word to contacts on the street to look out for the van. One contact came back with a license plate number a few days later. “This is community policing at its best,” Proffitt said. “[The officer] made contact with an individual who he’s known for quite a while and he told him to keep his eyes open, which he did.” The tag numbers led officers to Davis’s address in Gainesville.
The police came to the address with a search warrant the evening of Oct. 20, arrested Davis and charged him with brandishing, attempted robbery and robbery.
At about 11:30 the same morning, a young woman in the parking lot of the Target on Richmond Highway was approached by a white male in his 40’s, according to Proffitt. The man grabbed her and took her purse, but threw it back at her when she started screaming. The suspect appeared to flee the scene in a silver S.U.V.
“We are looking into the possibility that all three of those crimes may be connected. But we just don’t know at this time,” Proffitt said.